Mark Zuckerberg has dismissed the threat of a punitive boycott from major advertisers who press Facebook to take a stronger stance on the hate speech and said they will return “soon enough”.
According to a report from technology information site The Information, Facebook founder and CEO sees the boycott of big brands like Starbucks and Coca-Cola as a public relations problem rather than a serious threat and is not planning an important response. “We will not change our policies or approach to anything because of a threat to a small percentage of our revenue, or to any percentage of our revenue,” he said, according to the information.
The boycott is a “question of reputation and partner” rather than economic, according to Zuckerberg to the staff, according to a transcription obtained from the Information. “My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”
On Wednesday, over 500 companies officially kicked off an advertising boycott intended to push Facebook to take a stronger stance against hatred. Zuckerberg has decided to meet with its organizers early next week.
But if Zuckerberg agrees to further tighten the carefully crafted rules of the social network, it probably boils down to a more fundamental question: does Facebook need advertisers of big brands more than brands need Facebook?
In a broad sense, the current boycott, which will last at least a month, is like nothing Facebook has ever experienced before. After weeks of protests against police violence and racial injustice, the major brands joined for the first time to protest hate speeches still widespread on Facebook platforms, targeting $ 70 billion in revenue annual social network.
After years of piecemeal measures aimed at combating hatred, abuse and misinformation about its service, Facebook critics hope that pinching the company where it hurts will push it towards more significant change. As of Wednesday, 530 companies had joined and this did not count companies such as Target and Starbucks, which paused advertising but did not formally join the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which defines its action as a pause “rather than a boycott. .
Last Wednesday, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs and communications, tried to reassure companies that Facebook does not benefit from hatred and claimed that the company has every incentive to remove hate speech from the his service. He acknowledged that “many of our critics are angry about the inflammatory rhetoric that President Trump has published on our platform and others, and they want us to be more aggressive in removing his speech.”
Clegg, however, offered few concessions and instead repeated Zuckerberg’s frequent speech that the only way to take the powerful into account is ultimately through the ballot box. He stressed Facebook’s efforts to get the vote as proof of the company’s commitment, along with billions of dollars, tens of thousands of content moderators and other investments it has made in an effort to improve its platform.
While Facebook is working hard to listen to its critics, it remains clear that the final decisions will always be up to its founder and CEO, who holds most of the company’s voting shares and could actually manage the company for life if he wishes. .
Associated Press contributed to this article